Somebody at City Hall is making a scumbar list (updated)

Update 12.26 - The City has confirmed sending out 10 letters to bars demanding sales reports. But can you guess which Lower Greenville bars got the letters??? You would be surprised...(more information after the jump).

The Dallas City Auditor and Building Inspections departments sent demand letters to a number of scumbar operators on Lower Greenville, seeking detailed information on their sales of alcohol and non-alcoholic products. This information will be used to determine if they are complying with the City's 75/25 rule used to determine which businesses are operating as restaurants (serving food) and which are just scumbars claiming to serve food.

According to BD's sources, the letters were sent out last week. BD has filed an Open Records Request to secure copies of the letter and a list of targeted scumbars.

Update 12.26: BD has confirmed that 10 letters were sent out by the City to bars all over Dallas. The letter was written by the City Attorney and sent out by Building Inspections. Only three Lower Greenville bars Barrocco (now closed), Crem and Sugar Shack were sent letters.

This completely contradicts media reports and very loud announcements by NSA Hunt in November that Lower Greenville area-bars were the target of the audits. The criteria for deciding who got the letters was based not only on simple suspicions that they were operating outside of the applicable code but on whether the DPD considered the location to be a problem spot.

Now we can understand DPD having issues with Crem, but Sugar Shack has not come up on anyone's radar in a long time (if you don't count that collapsed floor). There are plenty of other businesses on Lower Greenville with bigger issues than Sugar Shack who should be getting audits.

Let's all say thanks to the City and NSA Hunt for figuring out how to weasel out of the big issue while continuing to ignore the problems we have on Lower Greenville.

Update 12.22: BD contacted the City Auditor's office to confirm some names on the list. He was told, We did not send the letter out. Building Inspections sent the letter.

Of course, by that time, City Hall folks were doing the congo line at the Xmas party and were not answering the phone.

BD has resubmitted his Open Records Requests to Development Services, Code Compliance, Building Inspection and NSA Hunt's office, the same folks who got the letter last month. Consider it a late Chanukah gift.

Any business in the City of Dallas which sells mixed beverages must report on a quarterly basis its gross revenue for the sale of alcoholic beverages (see link).

This is completely separate from the State of Texas TABC 75/25 rule regarding sales. In fact, many businesses not covered by the State’s rules are covered by the City’s rules.

Each business owner is required to submit an affidavit agreeing to the acceptance of these rules and to providing the reports on a quarterly basis or upon demand by the City. The City did not even bother asking for these reports from any business in Dallas until 2004 (after prodding by BD) and then promptly dropped the requests when it was determined they do not have any penalty or enforcement powers in the law.

BD's sources say the City Auditor has his own detailed checklist of what he is looking for from each business, as well as milestone and reference information from the TABC and other publicly available sources (while a bar's mixed beverages sales tax figures are public record, general sales tax records are not public).

The audit was announced in early November, with letters supposedly going out the next week.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Dallas City Hall